Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Someone actually said this: Robert Caro on Manhattan's bookstore desert

We read in this New York Times article that rising rents in some of America's richest neighborhoods, as well as new business models such as online shopping, are driving booksellers out of Manhattan. At least one person has already called for government to step in and do something:
“Sometimes I feel as if I’m working in a field that’s disappearing right under my feet,” said the biographer and historian Robert Caro, who is a lifelong New Yorker.

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“How can Manhattan be a cultural or literary center of the world when the number of bookstores has become so insignificant?” he asked. “You really say, has nobody in city government ever considered this and what can be done about it?”

I hope not; do we need subsidized rents for bookstores on Fifth Avenue? Nonetheless, I imagine that someone in city government has considered it. One of the first things that we learned in law school is "Not every bummer is a tort," but in today's political climate, every bummer is a call for government action.

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